Kids these days aren't smoking nutmeg, they're swallowing cinnamon—or trying to, the nation's poison centers warn. More and more teens appear to be attempting the "cinnamon challenge"—in which you try to swallow a spoonful of ground cinnamon without choking—and poison centers have had 139 calls this year about the misuse of cinnamon, of which at least 30 required medical attention, reports the Los Angeles Times. Hundreds of YouTube videos document attempts at the challenge.
"We urge parents and caregivers to talk to their teens about the cinnamon challenge, explaining to their teens that what may seem like a silly game can have serious health consequences," says the chief of one poison center. Cinnamon causes coughing, gagging, and vomiting as it dries the throat, leading to breathing difficulties and raising the risk of pneumonia, he warns, and the challenge can be especially risky for kids with asthma.